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Metaverse – Remote and Immersive Future of Work & Play

Sir Tim Berners-Lee speaking about ‘Bold, New Tech Strategies in Times of Change’,  Tech Show London, March 2022.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee speaking about ‘Bold, New Tech Strategies in Times of Change’,  Tech Show London, March 2022.

Re-imagine your world in which you can turn any remote place into a collaboration space, socially as well as for business.  To join this world, you will be thinking about how you want to style your avatar, or how your virtual home will look.  There is a lot of help and guidance about how to get started, not to mention having some fun while you explore. 

  • 1989:  Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web (www).
  • 1992:  Neal Stephenson, sci-fi writer, coined the term ‘metaverse’ to describe a 3D virtual space.
  • 2021:  Facebook announced last October that it was pivoting to metaverse, something that’s still in the making.

Our Virtual Selves

If we think of the Internet as something that we look at, the metaverse is a version of the internet that we’re actually experiencing.  The idea is that we will all get an immersive experience of the metaverse as an avatar, a virtual version of ourselves for the virtual spaces we move in, while co-existing with the physical world. 

The Metaverse is an extension of technologies that we currently have – e.g. video games are digital worlds that people interact with as an avatar – with the future Metaverse expanding on that experience, not just with gaming but to include a digital workspace or digital events or digital socialising. 

In this shared virtual reality space, users can interact, collaborate, work and learn with people from different locations.

Virtual offices and work spaces.

Virtual Offices – a sustainable way of working

“Metaverse cuts on operational costs and CO2 emissions while creating a stronger, healthier, and more inclusive company culture. Empower, embrace, unite, and collaborate with Evenness!”  – Evenness.rocks 

A New Economy to Service our Avatars?

In an immersive environment, we would style our own avatar and might have to think about having a stylist to dress it, maybe have a decorator to design our home space because we’ll be inviting our friends around to our virtual homes.

It’s believed it will inspire a bustling new economy for content creators and VR developers.

Your Avatar Photo

The avatars are being created by the tools of the Metaverse to create a virtual photo that will travel between online experiences in any metaverse. New, online economies are expected to spring up around these pixelated people.

Digital Clothes Can Live Forever

Designing our avatars for meetings and events has led to digital fashion being a thing. Poppy who wrote about fashion photography in January has studied digital fashion, so I know that it’s not news for young designers.  The fun part is that we can customize our own avatar with accessories and character skins when attending online events and remote teams’ collaborations.

A fact not known by many is the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters and creators of waste product…. I want to change that.” – Poppy Davenport

Metaverses offer fashion a sense of permanence, whereas physical clothes require materials that wear and tear, digital clothes can live on forever. They can be enjoyed time and time again and are a sustainable alternative to the waste generated by the fashion industry today.

Meta, formerly Facebook

Meta is transforming itself from a social media company into a Metaverse company.  Employees are using Oculus VR headsets, appearing as avatars inside software designed for virtual meetings called work rooms.

At the end of last year, Facebook had plans to hire 1000s to work on metaverse in the EU to develop the app and its tools, however by February 2022, European data regulations preventing Meta from transferring, storing and processing Europeans’ data on US-based servers may put an end to these plans.

Man wearing oculus virtual reality goggles with a metaverse logo in the background.

How will metaverse change digital and social connection?

The pandemic has made many realize how much social connection outside of our homes is yearned for.  With recurring lockdowns and travel restrictions, what we once took for granted is today a thrill (writing in Mar22).  It felt so great to be at the ExCel Centre in London this month at CloudExpoEurope.  People mingled freely, happily.

Netskope bus at the cloud expo europe event at the excel centre in London

The absence of physical interactions sent people looking for new ways to communicate, which led to a massive increase in social media communication and video calling apps.  For me, an intro to a weekly Twitter chat called #DigiBlogChat felt like I had a connection to the world outside of my immediate vicinity, a community I feel very close to today.

Discussions about the next stage of digital connection, and the advancement of the digital world where anything is possible at any time may seem real now, but it’s not yet that close to being ‘metaverse-ready’.

Note from Finola:  I hope you enjoyed reading my latest blog.  December last, I attended a virtual event with evenness at the invitation of Eve Logunova.  I styled my own avatar giving myself a green skin, left my hair red but donned a Stetson – I’ll give my future avatar some more thought!  I moved through the different rooms and scenes, including a beach which I thoroughly enjoyed, interacting with other participants.  You can learn how to do this too by booking a guided tour with Eve.

Glossary of Terms For An Immersive Reality – Source:  evenness.rocks

Metaverse – a digital network of virtual, augmented, and extended reality that bridges the gap between online interactions and real life. It combines components of social media, virtual and augmented realities, online gaming, artificial intelligence, edge computing, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies to create an immersive and interactive online experience. In this shared virtual reality space, users can interact, collaborate, work and learn with people from different locations.

Avatar: your digital persona in a virtual world. Your avatar may look like you, resemble a cartoon, or appear fantastical. The word “avatar” [Sanskrit: avatāra (“descent”)], refers to the incarnation of a deity in human or animal form. Examples of avatars can be seen in games such as “Assassins’ Creed”, “Returnal” or “Horizon”, and in the movies such as “Ready Player One”, “Avatar”, and “Free Guy”.

Cryptocurrency: also known as crypto, a digital asset and form of currency that is virtual, decentralized, and encrypted. It is built on blockchain technology and secured with cryptography. Online cryptocurrency payments allow for secure transactions without the control of central authorities, which are securely stored in a digital ledger.

Blockchain: a type of shared database that records and stores digital information in a secure, transparent, and immutable way. These features of encryption and immutability guarantee security, creating trust in the blockchain system. Data is stored in blocks which is independently verified.

Decentralization: the shifting of control from a central authority to a distributed network. This distributed network allows for peer-to-peer transaction of digital assets, coupled with irreversible tracking of the information and history of transactions and ownership of these assets. Advantages include transparency and fidelity by spreading records across many nodes in the computer network.

Augmented Reality (AR): enhanced version of the real physical world by combining simulated digital imagery with the real world on a screen. Examples include the IKEA Mobile App, where you can see how IKEA furniture looks in your real house, and Nintendo’s Pokémon Go App, you can see Pokemon by looking on your phone at the real world around you, but with enhanced images.

Virtual Reality (VR): an immersive experience based on computer-generated simulations where when the user puts on a VR headset, their 360 degree view is entirely contained within the 3D digital world. Using headsets, users can realistically explore and interact with the virtual environment with the VR system accurately translating users’ movements into VR, so they feel truly present.

Mixed Reality (MR): combines elements of both Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to create a blend of the physical and virtual world, where real-world and digital objects interact in real-time. Mixed reality can be experienced with the help of devices like VR headsets and Hololens. MR can be taken to the next level by creating holographic representations of people.

Extended Reality (XR): refers to the set of immersive technologies that combine the experiences and environments of the real and virtual worlds; including Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR). XR technology allows users to experience different immersive experiences altogether across the metaverse space. The application of XR can be seen across various devices and industries. For example, in training medical staff, conducting field trips, or in architecture and design.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): a field that combines computer science and robust datasets to enable problem-solving via automation. It consists of AI algorithms which create expert systems using machine learning and deep learning to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, like visual perception, speech recognition, decision making, and translation between languages.

Web 3.0: the new third-generation of internet services for websites and applications that is built on the open, decentralized blockchain technology. Web 3.0 allows users to have ownership stakes in applications and platforms. This framework contrasts the current Web 2.0, where vast amounts of data and content are centralized within a central authority. Web 3.0 encompasses AI-based semantics, AR/VR-based immersive-ness, and blockchain-based decentralisation to process information in human-like ways and create transparent and open internet experiences.

WebXR: an interface that enables applications to interact with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) devices in a web browser. In technical terms, WebXR is an API for web content and apps that is integrated with augmented reality features. It provides users a way to access the immersive content online, via a link, without installing a dedicated application or using a mounted display. Also, enabling businesses to integrate their immersive environments and solutions into a landing page.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs): blockchain-based certificates of authentication for digital objects, which allow proof of ownership of goods in the Metaverse. Each NFT is one-of-a-kind, meaning that an object cannot be replaced with an identical item and is thus not mutually interchangeable. Assets like cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin) are considered fungible, where an original art piece on the blockchain is deemed non-fungible.

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